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Two Poems by Juan Ramón Jiménez

Two poems by Juan Ramón Jiménez, a prolific Spanish poet who achieved fame in the English speaking world after the translation of his work ‘Platero
poems by Juan Ramón Jiménez
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Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958) was a prolific Spanish poet, translator and critic who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1956. He was an advocate of the concept of ‘pure poetry’— lyrical poetry that celebrate and explore the musical nature of language itself, rather than encumbering it with the burden of didacticism. Jiménez married Zenobia Camprubi Aymar, who translated the works of Rabindranath Tagore to Spanish.

The Street Is Waiting For The Night…

The street is waiting for the night.
All is history and silence.
The trees along the walk
are asleep along the sky.

And the sad sky is violet.
an April sky, beautiful
violet sky with gentle
preludes of starlight.

Now the lamps are shining
at the barred windows. A dog whines
at a closed door. A black cat
twirls in the smooth sky …

Ah! that yellow lamp,
the peace of the blind children,
the nostalgia of the widows,
the presence of the dead!

And the stories that we told
on those April evenings
that have never returned,
while we gazed at the stars!

And the darkness is falling,
sweet and great and peaceful,
among the distant murmurs
of the little villages …

Translated by Lysander Kemp

Who Knows What Is Going On

Who knows what is going on on the other side of each hour?

    How many times the sunrise was
there, behind a mountain!

    How many times the brilliant cloud piling up far off
was already a golden body full of thunder!

    This rose was poison.

    That sword gave life.

    I was thinking of a flowery meadow
at the end of a road,
and found myself in the slough.

    I was thinking of the greatness of what was human,
and found myself in the divine.

Translated by Robert Bly

Image courtesy: Pixabay

Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958) was a Spanish poet and recipient of the 1956 Nobel Prize in Literature.

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